Democrats in Ireland to host party of the year - or wake of the decade


IT PROMISES to be either the party of the year or the wake of the decade. Democrats Abroad in Ireland is organising what it hopes and fervently wishes will be a party to end all parties into the early hours of tomorrow morning to celebrate Barack Obama's probable election success.

The event at Café En Seine in Dawson Street, Dublin, is by invitation only and with a capacity of 220, is already over-subscribed.

"All of us are torn between hope and absolute terror that we won't win although we expect to win," said Democrats Abroad Ireland organiser Mary Kay Simmons.

"We're clinging together at this point. We're letting Americans in first, but we'll have Irish friends there too. They're just as interested in the outcome of this election as we are."

When the Democrats Abroad started organising for the US presidential elections 18 months ago, just six members attended the original event. Now the organisation has 1,400 members and not all of them can fit into the room set aside for the event.

There will be two large-screen televisions, but none will be tuned to the Fox Channel, which is perceived to have a Republican bias.

Outside Dublin, the big event of the night will be in Moneygall, Co Offaly, the ancestral home of Barack Obama's great-great grandfather, Fulmouth Kearney. The centre of the celebrations will be Ollie Hayes's pub in the centre of Moneygall.

The party hosted by the American embassy at the Guinness Storehouse promises to be a more bipartisan affair. The ambassador, Thomas Foley, is a former fundraiser for the Republican Party.

The embassy has invited politicians, including several Government ministers, business leaders and students, to the party which begins at 9.30pm and goes on until the early hours.

"We're inviting people who have an interest in the election which seems to be pretty much everybody in Ireland," said Sheila Paskman, public affairs officer for the American embassy.

"This has got to be away the biggest interest I have ever seen in an American election. Irish people are so knowledgeable, they feel very connected to the United States."